President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday that Turkey is ready to take the necessary steps to realize the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project.
Speaking to Russian news agency TASS, Erdoğan underline Turkey's role in the Russian market as a natural gas buyer. "By this July, we imported 12.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia. This shows Turkey is an important partner [for Russia] in terms of the economy" he said.
As the two leaders are set to meet in St. Petersburg, Erdoğan's remarks on the Turkish Stream project, which is planned to carry Russian natural gas to Turkey and Europe via the Turkish-Greek border, hint at a possible negotiation during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The natural gas trade between Turkey and Russia became an issue after Turkey downed a Russian Su-24 jet on Nov. 24, 2015 for violating Turkish airspace along the Syrian border.
Two weeks ago, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that talks with Turkey have resumed on the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project. Speaking to Russian news channel Rossiya 24, Novak said that Turkey wants to export 15.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia via the planned direct route. "The talks to construct two pipelines with Turkey for the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project have restarted. It is planned that natural gas will be carried to southeast Europe via the second pipeline," Novak said.
The Turkish Stream project aims to transfer Russian natural gas to Europe via the Black Sea and Turkey. Under Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom's plans, the Turkish Stream pipeline will be split into four lines with a total capacity of 63 billion cubic meters a year. In December 2014, Russia scrapped the South Stream pipeline project that would have transported natural gas to Europe via Bulgaria and brought forward the proposed four-line and 63 billion-cubic-meter project that will bypass Ukraine and stretch to the Turkish-Greek border through the Black Sea.